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Welcome to Message Sticks Festival, Sydney Opera House’s annual event celebrating the arts and culture of  the world’s first peoples, including Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Now in its 14th year, and an integral part of the cultural calendar, Message Sticks is an international  multi-faceted festival showcasing performing arts, traditional knowledge and ritual ceremonies. It’s your chance to discover our connected heritage and experience everything from cool contemporary music and movies documenting the hottest topics, to ancient dances and craft workshops.

For thousands of years Bennelong Point, site of Sydney Opera House, has been an Aboriginal gathering point – a place of corroborees, storytelling and ceremony. So it’s fitting that here is where the stories continue as this year we mark 200 years of the passing of Woollarawarre Bennelong, the man who served as a vital mediator between Aboriginal Australians and our colonial forebears.

From first contact to contemporary culture, Message Sticks covers a diverse program of amazing performances, exhibitions and events, many of them free – and all against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney Harbour. Whether you’re kicking back with a cocktail and listening to funky folk-pop under the stars on the Western Boardwalk, watching hard-hitting theatre in the Playhouse, taking part in a ritual stomp or listening to celebrity speakers addressing the gritty socio-political issues facing the nation, our aim is to engage you in conversation and raise our collective awareness. We look forward to sharing with you the stories that have helped shape this ancient land. 

Download the full festival program

Head of Indigenous Programming, 

Rhoda Roberts


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Sydney Opera House




Various Venues

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